Tag Archives: march

Jerusalem Pride – July 29, 2010

Thousands marched in the Holy Land on Thursday as part of the Jerusalem LGBT equality march.

There were no floats and no DJs, as this year’s Jerusalem March was being held in remembrance for the 2 people tragically killed at last year’s LGBT youth center shooting in Tel Aviv.  An estimated 1,500 police were in attendance, more as a preventative measure, as protests were minor.

Participants marched from Independence Park to the Parliament building, where a rally was held asking the government to promote equality and help end the violence toward Israel’s LGBT community.

See Images of Jerusalem Pride and of the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance at:

http://wwpbehindthephotos.wordpress.com
(Jerusalem Pride)

Jerusalem Pride March 2010
http://wwpbehindthephotos.wordpress.com/2010/07/30/jerusalem-pride/

Jerusalem Pride marks the 1yr anniversary of the Bar-Noar Murders

Courtesy of the Jerusalem Open House website.

On the anniversary of the murders at Bar-Noar, those injured in the attack and the families of the two murdered activists will march along with the Jerusalem Open House (JOH) and other LGBT organizations from across the state of Israel in a rally culminating with a demonstration in front of the Knesset (Israeli parliament). This Jerusalem Pride March will mark the end of a year of mourning and the beginning of a year of activism in pursuit of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) rights and the eradication of discrimination and hate.

On Saturday September 1st, 2009 an armed man clad in a black mask burst into a youth support group meeting in the basement of Bar Noar – an LGBT youth organization on Nahmani Street in Tel Aviv.  The intruder open fired, killing the group’s leader Nir Katz and Liz Terobishi, who was only 16 at the time.  Eleven others were injured, leaving two additional teenagers permanently disabled.  The perpetrator was never found.

This tragedy serves as a terrible reminder to the LGBT community that we cannot tolerate any form of discrimination, intolerance, or prejudice. Many public figures pledged their support of our efforts, including Knesset members and ministers from all corners of the political spectrum. Some of these included Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Minister of Education Gideon Saar, Minister of Culture and Sport Limor Livnat, Minister for Social Welfare Services Isaac Herzog and Minister for Minority Affairs Avishay Braverman. But how will these promises of change be implemented?

The JOH has dedicated this year’s Jerusalem Pride March to creating tangible changes in discriminatory legislation, and resource allocation. We do not seek to “provoke”, but rather to draw attention to the fact that Israeli law and public policy still discriminate against members of the LGBT community.  The time has come to take action.

The 2010 Jerusalem Pride will take place July 29.

And, here’s a program of the week’s events: Pride Events

Budapest Pride – July 10, 2010

It was incredibly hot and sunny for Budapest Pride.  However, that didn’t stop almost 1,000 people turning out for Pride.

While previous marches were held in public view, since the violence of the 2007 and 2008 Budapest Prides, the march now takes place on a closed off section of one of the city’s main thoroughfares, Andrassy Street.  Ahead of the event, organizers were in disputes with police over the length of the Pride.  While last year they were allowed to walk down the entire length of the street, this year they could only go half-way.  The police said due to flooding problems in the South of Hungary, they didn’t have enough gates to block off the whole street.

Budapest Pride Andrassy Street

Andrassy Street before the Pride

Chad and I set off around 9 in the morning to watch the gates being set up (on half of Andrassy).  We also watched them install some video cameras along the Pride route.  Around 11am, police in full riot gear turned out.  I can guess this must have been really unbearable in the July heat, as I was baking in a tee-shirt and jeans.

Budapest Pride Police

Police putting on riot gear to get ready for Budapest Pride 2010

One of the difficulties of having a closed off Pride March is deciding who to let in.  And, unfortunately, a few people who would later cause a minor disruption of the Pride procession were mistakenly let in, as well as three completely wasted individuals that proceeded to give television interviews while falling over drunk (and in general made asses out of themselves).

The march started around 4p, after the arrival of a large decorated float with music blasting from speakers onboard.  About a thousand people, including quite a few heterosexual supporters, marched down Andrassy Street.  I noticed several signs against homophobia, and against fascism.  The event reminded me very much of Romania’s GayFest, as people walked and danced down a big empty street.

Budapest Pride

Everything was going fine and was very festive until 4 right-wingers who had infiltrated the pride took a stand in front of the truck.  Not wanting to run anyone down, whoever was driving the truck decided to stop, and the police rushed out to arrest the skinheads.  However, this did cause a minor disruption to the procession, and organizers decided to turn back the march at that point as it was nearly to the end of the route anyway.

The speeches for this Pride took place before the event, so when the march had returned to the starting point those on the organizing committee began ushering participants into the closed-off metro, where police would escort them to safe exit points away from the event.  This was good in theory, but they chose to use the metro entrance right in front of those demonstrating against the Pride, instead of any of the previous 4 empty stops on the closed off street.

Budapest  metro

As you might guess the right-wing protestors just a metal barrier away from those participating in the Pride march began chanting anti-homophobic slogans.  Pride participants would respond with chants against homophobia and fascism.  While the police outside the gate kept trying to quiet the skin heads and other protestors, the volunteer organizers inside the gated area tried to do the same – encouraging people to be silent and not to provoke the protestors.

The organizers had just fears concerning safety, however this still didn’t go over well as many who had come to participate in Budapest Pride wanted to speak up and demonstrate against homophobia.  The photo below shows one young man trying to hold out his rainbow flag, as organizers link hands and try to push him away from the barricade.

Budapest Pride Rainbow

On September 4th those opposing the pride have promised to hold their own heterosexual march down Andrassy Street.

To view more images check out the WWP: Behind the Photos blog

http://wwpbehindthephotos.wordpress.com/2010/07/12/budapest-pride-july-10-2010/

London is Full of Pride!

It was clear from the beginning that London Pride would be a different experience than most of the Prides we’ve documented so far in the ‘Walk with Pride’ Project.  Thousands of people are expected to participate in the Pride, with several hundred of thousands more coming to watch.

We arrived 3 hours early and the preparations were already in full swing.  Buses lined Baker Street, and the work of ‘glamming’ them had started.  People walked around in crazy outfits, free to wear how much or how little they’d like.  While London Pride does have a big festive party atmosphere feel, there is another side that concerns rights and social issues.  There were many organizations present supporting different social projects, and groups raising awareness concerning the troubles face by LGBT communities in Africa and the Middle East.  Chad’s photos fro this Pride try to show this contrast, as he switches between portraits of those in costume, and those promoting social issues.  It’s something a little different, but we hope you Enjoy …!

London Pride Queen
Http://wwpbehindthephotos.wordpress.com
(Pride London)

Sofia Pride – Images and Video!

A gallery for Sofia Pride is now online.

This was the country’s third Pride …

Sofia Pride

Http://wwpbehindthephotos.wordpress.com
(Sofia Pride 2010)

YouTube Videos:

Sofia Pride – over 700 in attendance!

It’s amazing to think how Sofia Pride has grown since the first march in 2008.  That first 2008 Pride faced fierce opposition from neo-Nazi protestors throwing Molotov cocktails, and 88 protestors being arrested by the police.  Since then, the march has grown from a little over 100 participants to 2010’s march which had well over 700 supporters taking part.

The morning of the Pride we met with some of the volunteer organizers of Sofia Pride.  Chad actually managed to give them quite a shock, as when we arrived outside their apartment and saw a rainbow flag, Chad pulled out his camera, and inside they just saw a guy in all black hanging around their window and pulling something out of a bag…yah, oops!  One of the reasons they were on edge was from a news report they’d been looking at online about an ultra-nationalist protest march that had taken place that morning.  About 100 nationalists had rallied in support of homophobia and intolerance.  Again, this group had many crazy “facts” concerning homosexuality concerning how dangerous LGBT people are, yet I don’t think this morning they were the ones worried about their demonstration being attacked.

A few hours before the Pride we left for the old headquarters of Sofia Pride, which was in the office of Gemini.  I’m not sure the complete story, but Gemini had been one of the main LGBT organizations in Bulgaria, before it had stopped operations last year.  It didn’t take long for this place to fill up with people, balloons, and all things rainbow.  Michael Cashmen, UK Labor MEP and co-president of the European Parliament’s Intergroup (and someone who we’d seen both at the Lithuanian and Romanian Prides), arrived to show his support for Sofia Pride.  Mr. Cashmen had participated in last year’s march as well.

As the time for the Pride got closer, the police escorted the Pride volunteers in a large group to the start of the march.  Entering the roped off perimeter, participants were greated by the media, with cameras and video cameras everywhere.  While we waited to begin, more and more people arrived.  The great turnout was helped by the weather, despite threatening to be rainy all week, surprisingly the rain held off.  This helped the number in attendance to pass the 500-600 originally expected

Around 5pm the event started, with a huge mass of people walking from Lover’s bridge to Vassil Lovski Blvd.  A large float led the he march, with dancers and a DJ playing music.  The 300 police present provided security for the march, and prevented any disruptions.  Taking part, I didn’t notice anyone protesting … the only thing was a lone egg thrown from an apartment that landed on the ground a little to close for comfort from my foot.

The Pride march ended at a nearby park several blocks away.  There was much celebration, music, and waving of Pride flags.  As well as strong hopes that next years’ Pride march would have double the amount of supporters.

The last Saturday in June has long been remembered as the start of the Stonewall riots, and a turning point for the Gay Rights movement.  While it is great to think of how many Pride parades and marches have been able to take place since this event, including Sofia’s Pride, it also makes one consider all the places where public displays of pride are still illegal.  I have to say it was distressing to return from Sofia Pride, only to read about the arrests in Saint Petersburg, Russia – where not only were five of the activists arrested, but so was a group of skin heads that had showed up with box cutters.  Unfortunately, the world is still rife with homophobia, but at least I’d like to hope things are getting/will get better.

First St. Petersburg Pride taking place June 26, 2010

While the WWP project is in Sofia, Bulgaria, this weekend for the pride march, we will unfortunately be missing St. Petersburg Pride in Russia, the city’s first.  Like Moscow pride, this event has been banned by the government and under threat from national extremists.  In addition, no foreign consulates have showed any support against the human rights violations taking place.

Despites threats of violence the pride march will stake place this Saturday, June 26.

Please know, Our thoughts are with you, and we hope for a safe Pride!

The organizers of the Pride are currently collecting signatures for an open letter to the the Government Representatives of the Russian Federation –

If you have a moment, and value Human-Rights please take a second to sign this.

Saint Petersburg LGBT Pride

Preparing for Sofia Pride

In just a few days Sofia will have its 3rd Pride march, which means both supporters and protesters of the Pride are getting ready.  There has been a flurry of letter writing on both sides, which has been appearing in the local and international media.  From those opposed, a joint declaration was issued by 25 Bulgarian organizations condemning the Pride, while letters of support and solidarity concerning Sofia Pride have arrived from several foreign Ambassadors and international LGBT groups.

This morning we joined Marko and another LGBT activist at the National Bulgarian radio station as one of the radio programs was going to focus on the upcoming Pride.  A representative from a local family-values group (who looked to be in his early 20s) also arrived at the show to provide the opposing viewpoint.

National Bulgarian Radio

National Bulgarian Radio

This young man, who claimed not to be a homophobe, but instead a “concerned citizen”, came prepared with many “facts” concerning homosexuality, including that those in the LGBT community live 20 years less, 70% have AIDS, and that legalizing prostitution is core on the gay agenda.  He therefore concluded that their choice to be gay was illogical (!) Again, what is admirable about Marko and his friend, as well as many of the activists we’ve met during this trip, instead of getting angry at this idiocy they instead tried to talk reasonably with him.  It didn’t work as it concerned him, but they did present a reasonable counter-argument for the radio program.

When the organizers for the Pride are not being kept busy doing awareness and promotion within the community, they still have a mass of other activities to do to get ready for the Pride.  While we left Marko after the radio show, we met up with more members of the Sofia organizing committee that afternoon as they prepared signs and had a security briefing.

Sofia Pride 2010

Sitting around a laptop, the group of 12-15 volunteers watched footage of the 2008 Pride where Molotov cocktails had been thrown.  Photos of some of the main aggressors against the Pride were passed around, and strategies discussed on how to deal with the opposition.  To add insult to injury, not only do they have to deal with these hateful individuals that wish them harm, but they have to personally pay the city police to protect them from these guys.  This is a serious problem as the cost for the needed police protection (caused by the aggressive protestors) runs in the thousands of Euros!  Not easy for a small Pride.  Already they have been forced to cut the length of the march and afterwards gathering by half, down from 4 hours to only 2 hours, because of the cost for police.

While only days before the main pride event, the group is still raising money to cover some of the necessities.  (see here for more details)

Arriving in Sofia, Bulgaria

On Sunday night we left Zagreb by train headed first to Belgrade, Serbia, and then by connecting train to Sofia, Bulgaria.  Going by train was a change of pace from all the flying we’ve been doing recently, but fifteen hours on a train seemed rather grueling by the end.  Anyway, now we’re in Sofia to document the project’s 11th Pride.  Like most place in Eastern Europe it is not very easy to hold a Pride event here, which makes getting to know the people who do organize these events all the more interesting.

We didn’t have much time to settle into Sofia as about an hour after the train arrived we were due to attend a press briefing to officially start the week of Sofia Pride.  One of the organizers of this year’s pride is Marko, who we’d had a chance to meet during Athens Pride (and the regional solidarity conference held beforehand).  In addition to the press briefing, Marko informed us that they were also opening a photo exhibit that night showing images from past Sofia Prides.

The history of Sofia Pride is still relatively young.  The first Pride took place in 2008 with about 150 participants, but also with strong opposition from local far-right wing groups.  During the event Molotov cocktails were thrown, and 88 protestors were arrested.  The second Pride, 2009, faired better with 300 pro-LGBT participants, support of dozen of foreign embassies, and no violence.  This year will be the third Pride March, and it has the theme of “Love equality, embrace diversity”

Here’s some a video/pics of the past marches:

As you’ll notice in 2009 Pride participants were given hard hats to wear!

Sofia Pride 2009:

Sofia Pride 2008:

Pride Images


Country Details: Gay Rights and Culture in Bulgaria

Bulgaria LGBT Rights:

Homosexual Acts Legal? Yes

In 1858 homosexual acts were first made legal by the Ottoman empire, but in 1878 following the liberation of Bulgaria homosexuality again became illegal.  It wasn’t until 1968 that a revision of the penal code made it once again legal.

Same-sex Relationships Recognized? No

Same-sex Marriages Allowed? No

Same-sex Adoption Allowed? No

Can Gays Serve Openly in the Military? Yes

Anti-discrimination Laws? Yes, since 2003

Legislature Concerning Gender Identity? Some

Right to legally change gender is allowed

Cultural Points of Interest:

In 2008 hate groups in Bulgaria held “Week of Intolerance” leading up to Sofia’s first pride march.  Unfortunately, Bulgaria suffers from high levels of homophobia.

Websites:

Sofia Pride – The main website for Sofia Pride, provides all the details you need concerning the annual pride events.  http://www.sofiapride.info/en

Gay.bg – Bulgayria (gay.bg) is a web site about the news on gay/lesbian/homosexual/queer life in Bulgaria. The gay guide includes the list of gay bar, disco and cruising in Sofia, Varna, Plovdiv, Rousse, Bourgas, map of Sofia (other maps will be added), listing of parties in Spartacus Disco. http://www.gay.bg/

G-Spotbg – LGBT community portal in Bulgaria.
http://www.g-spotbg.com/